The holidays are notoriously stressful, but add to that all the other stressors of 2020 and this one promises to be a real doozy. Luckily, there are ways to help yourself (or someone you love) relax enough to actually enjoy the festive moments. We rounded up some of the best stress relief gifts, to wrap up for friends and family, or to give yourself.
So whether it’s the usual worries (like, you burnt the roast, still haven’t cleaned the bathroom or found a gift for cousin John—and work is piling up before and during your holiday break), or it’s a newer-fangled combo of existential dread, coronavirus concerns, and all the uncertainty of the present, don’t despair (too much).
Take some time for self-care, and get a little help to soothe your racing mind, tired eyes, tense shoulders, stiff neck, weary feet, and all the rest of stressed-out you. Or put a bow on these for a fellow beleaguered human and give them the gift of a little breather this holiday season.
The stress-relief products below are looking mighty good to us right about now too.
The holidays can be a headache, especially when there’s family strife and they’re all going to be under one roof. But even if that’s not a factor this year, there’s plenty else to be worried about. This gift set aims to help you forget about all that—or at least stress less. It contains a lavender eye mask (gently weighted for both aromatherapy and accupressure benefits); a Keep Calm essential oil roller with peppermint, lavender, patchouli, and basil; a container of “Wash That Hair” dry shampoo for those days when showering has gotten away from you; a pair of soft, comfy socks to keep your toes warm; and an encouraging greeting card that can be personalized at checkout. At the very least, you’ll smell great, have clean hair, and feel super cozy—and that counts for a lot.Buy Now
This blend of organic rooibos tea laced with calming chamomile and passionflower plus the soothing aromas of rose and lavender makes for an especially relaxing tea that’s a great bedtime drink. It’s caffeine free, of course. And it’s available on Amazon, though only through third party sellers at the moment.Buy Now
You probably have too many mugs crowding your cabinets already (perhaps another source of stress?), but do you have one this beautiful? Blue is considered a centering, soothing shade, so get rid of the old and make way for the new; this blue-green glazed stoneware mug will make you feel better before you even take a sip of its contents. It comes in three sizes depending on how much you tend to brew and is textured in a way that recalls ocean waves. So pretend you’re at the beach and sip away your stress.Buy Now
If wine is more your speed, you’ll want to keep it (like yourself) chill, and this stainless steel vacuum insulated wine bottle sleeve does just that. It promises to keep your wine or Champagne cold for hours, even if it might not take you that long to finish a bottle. It’s great for keeping dinner party bottles cold too, instead of having to deal with melting tubs of ice on the table; one less thing to worry about always relives a little stress. So does the wine, of course.Buy Now
All the rage, weighted blankets are said to help relieve stress by putting you under (gentle) pressure, like you’re getting a full-body hug. This is one of the more affordable—yet still well-reviewed—options, but if you want to get even cozier, look for ones with plush fabric covers like the Layla weighted blanket. Use them on your bed at night to help you get a good night’s sleep, or lug them to the couch and cuddle up in front of your favorite feel-good movie. Cup of herbal tea (or glass of wine) on the side optional but highly recommended.Buy Now
This organic, therapeutic French lavender oil (distilled by artisanal farmers in southern France) can be put in a diffuser or used in massage or in any manner of aromatherapy. This scent is considered one of the best for relaxing, and lavender is said to help relieve headaches and sleeping difficulties, which can be common this time of year.Buy Now
This may seem a little Goop-y and too good to be true (allegedly, it reduces wrinkles and improves the appearance of your skin), but even if it’s not a miracle product (nothing is), the sensation of rolling cool, smooth jade over your face is actually extremely pleasant. It’s like a mini massage you don’t have to pay for (well, only once). Use it to help relieve tension before it blooms into a headache, or soothe tired temples if it’s already too late for prevention.Buy Now
If you express your irritation by swearing, this coloring book might just be perfect for you. Coloring in itself is meditative, and this book is filled with…off-color sayings such as “Keep Calm and F*ck You” and “My Middle Finger Salutes You.” These aggressive, offbeat, sort-of-inspirational quotes are paired with mean animals and relaxing scenes to both honor and help you work out your aggression as you shade them in. Now that’s an adult coloring book. If you’re not a wannabe sailor, though, you can find plenty of non-profane, intricately designed adult coloring books too.Buy Now
Take a breather. For tight shoulders and a sore neck, heat this wrap up in the microwave and drape it around your neck—or use it on your lower back or stomach. The eye pillow can be used as a warm compress or chilled in the freezer, and helps soothe headaches; relieve sore, puffy, or allergy-itchy eyes; or simply block out the light while you take a much needed moment or ten. These are filled with rice and flaxseed, and come unscented or with lavender or peppermint inside if you prefer.Buy Now
Sometimes you just need a good soak in the bath after a long day. These relaxing aromatherapy bath salts are formulated with eucalyptus and spearmint to provide comfort when you need it most. Add a few capfuls to warm running water, breathe in the aroma of the essential oils, and feel the day’s stress melt away.Buy Now
If you prefer a more luxurious experience, this coconut milk bath is an indulgence designed to soothe even the most irritated skin (and mind). With oatmeal, honeysuckle, and chamomile, it’s sweet relief in a jar. Soak it in (and soak in it), and feel your cares all drain away. At least for a little while.Buy Now
This extendable bath tray with convenient slots and spots for candles, toiletries, your tablet, and even a wine glass holder, lets you bring everything you need into the tub with you. Lock the door and take an hour or two to treat yourself to some peace and quiet.Buy Now
No tub? You can still place your weary feet in the lap of luxury, without the price of visiting a spa. This may not be much to look at, but the invigorating vibration encourages circulation and soothes sore feet while the motorized rollers target tired soles. Meanwhile, water jets create calming bubbles (basically a mini Jacuzzi), and you can add a few drops of essential oil to add an aromatherapy element. The water warms up to 122°F to further relax you, and this gadget comes with a a brush, pumice, and acupressure pedicure attachments for when you have the energy to do a little more than just sit and soak.Buy Now
A soft touch is definitely soothing, so the cozy feel of these cream-colored socks will go a long way. These cotton-crochet, lace-trimmed fuzzy socks are ideal for lounging at home, curled up on the couch by the fire with a good book and a furry friend. They’re cute, comfy, and great to sleep in too. The socks fit shoe sizes 6 to 10.Buy Now
Aromatherapy mist may help reduce anxiety and encourage sleep (depending on what oils you use), but this humidifier can also be used without oils; the added moisture will help your skin and sinuses recover from the drying effects of colder weather. There are also 7 color options for a mood-boosting glow (including a few shades of calming blue), and programmable timer functions, plus an automatic shut-off when the water runs out. Set it to emit a continuous mist or intermittently.Buy Now
Inspired by the concepts of mindfulness and letting go, this board and bamboo brush let you paint with water—your brushstrokes create a soft, inky black image that slowly fades away. (So if you want to express some profane frustration, the evidence will be gone in no time, but that’s not really the intended purpose. Still, we say, whatever makes you feel better.)Buy Now
If lavender is great in diffusers, aromatherapy balms, tea, and bath products, why not in chocolate too? This lovely lavender white chocolate bar is one creamy, dreamy option, but if you prefer a more intense cocoa flavor (and a bonus antioxidant boost), this lavender-infused dark chocolate bar is here for you. Either treat will certainly give you a blissful moment, even if it’s not the lavender that does it. Perfect for those who still aren’t sure about CBD.Buy Now
Why fidget with your jewelry or your clothing when you can fidget with toys specifically designed to give your hands something to do and help you decompress? This set includes several that you squish, stretch, or squeeze. Grab one the next time you have to make a call you’re dreading, or just have a spare moment between holiday errands.Buy Now
And visit our Holiday Headquarters for more tips, tricks, and recipes to get you through the season.
For Everyone Else on Your List
Amy Sowder wrote the original version of this story in 2016. It has been updated with new images, links, and text.
Header image courtesy of PillarBox Gifts / Etsy